Chris Partridge wrote:
Avalanche theory is based on the distinction
between granular layers (continuants) and flows
(which when summed together make the avalanches themselves).
So, waves are continuants and avalanches occurrents? Or slightly more
accurately, there are wave continuants and wave-life occurrents, whereas
there are only avalanche(-life) occurrents (i.e. there are no avalanche
continuants) - as flows and flow-sums are occurrents. Have I understood your
I think the question of whether an avalanche is a continuant or an
occurrent is ill-posed, in the sense that we need first a meta-statement
about the term 'avalanche'. One you accept the distinction between
continuants and occurrents (and why not), an avalanche is a continuant
or an occurrent -- depending on what 'avalanche' means to you.
If 'avalanche' is taken to mean the sliding down of large masses of
stuff (snow, ice, mud), then an avalanche, in this sense, is an occurrent.
If 'avalanche' is taken to mean a large mass of stuff (...) that slides
down, then an avalanche, in this sense, is a continuant.
The term 'avalanche' has a number of meanings, including those two
above, and the actual meaning varies from context to context. (Ingvar,
what would be the sentence meaning of 'an avalanche was observed', as
opposed to its many used sentence meanings?)
If you looked at how 'avalanche' is defined in the dictionaries
"a rapid downhill *flow* of a large mass of something"
"a sudden overwhelming *quantity* of something"
"a *mass* of snow and ice falling rapidly down"
"a large *mass* of snow, ice, earth, rock, or other material in swift
"a sudden great or overwhelming *rush* or accumulation of something"
What is interesting in some of those definitions, is that some of them
that consider an avalanche a continuant, do not actually allow to think
of an avalanche (a continuant) *at* a time -- an avalanche is a mass in
motion, and there is no motion *at* an instant.